Farmers are, as a result, crying foul, calling for government to assist in abolishing the use of middlemen and sell directly to the buyers.
This would significantly increase proceeds while farmers would yield more rewards.
Currently, the wool industry is valued at over M1 billion, but only around M400 million goes to the farmers. The middlemen enjoy lucrative returns at around M600 million at the expense of Basotho farmers.
This was revealed on Monday during the event where a total of 56 shepherds, through the support of the Prime Minister’s Office, with its Poverty Reduction Program (PRP) were awarded sheep, 10 awes and a ram each, to kick start their entrepreneurship journey.
The recipients, who were selected randomly with the support of the district councilors, were drawn from Semonkong, Mohale’s Hoek, Quthing and Qacha’s Nek.
Farmers revealed during the event that while the industry is undoubtedly one of the major economic pillars in the country, their struggles are deeper than envisaged.
Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro agreed that stakeholders will have to join hands to come up with a lasting solution that will see players in the multi-million industry reaping more benefits.
“While we are here, it is important to emphasise our desire to see our produce going straight to the buyers without having to deal with the middlemen as is currently the case. This would strengthen the industry even further and alleviate poverty.
“Lesotho is one of the best producers of wool and mohair in the world, but as players in the industry, we are struggling to put food on the table. Even more challenging is the fact that we invest a lot in our production to ensure that we produce the best quality for the market,” said Mpho Sekonyela, one of the wool and mohair producers in Quthing.
According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), wool is the leading commodity exported by Lesotho and mohair is the fifth largest.